De Virorum Organis Generationi Inservientibus, de Clysteribus et de usu Siphonis in Anatomia
Health Sciences Historical Collection WZ250 G726 1668
[Leiden]: Ex Officinia Hackiana
Reinier de Graaf (1641-73) is known in modern medicine for the ‘Graafian follicle’, where the ovum develops in the ovary. De Graaf studied in Leiden together with Jan Swammerdam, Niels Stensen, and Frederich Ruysch under Franciscus Sylvius (1614-72), all prominent figures in the history of medicine. De Graaf was a close friend of the microscopist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), but preferred to use an old school hand lens to study the gonads of the male and female. This drawing shows de Graaf’s dissection of the male epididymis, ‘a highly convoluted duct behind the testes along which sperm passes’, down to a single tubule seen in the lower right. The epididymis lies on top of the testes (Greek ‘epi’ means ‘on top of’ and ‘didymis’ means ‘twins’). De Graaf’s work predated van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery of the spermatozoa or sperm cell. De Graaf did, however, realize that the testes produced some substance necessary for pregnancy, and that it was transferred in some way by the epididymis. The English translation of this title reads: ‘On the use of the male organs of generation, of enemas and the use of syringes in anatomy.’
Reinier de Graaf, “De Virorum Organis Generationi Inservientibus, de Clysteribus et de usu Siphonis in Anatomia,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed May 23, 2019, http://ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/11026.
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